PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has ordered its units to boost dialogues with school officials to protect students against illegal drugs, crimes, and other acts of violence for the opening of classes next week.

In an interview with Radyo Pilipinas on Wednesday, PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said they are coordinating with schools to allow police officers to join orientations for students for their information dissemination drives.

"This is for students, especially those coming from the provinces who are studying here in Metro Manila – para malaman nila kung saan 'yung mga lugar na laganap ang krimen. Kailangan din nila magkaroon ng kaalaman tungkol sa mga nagbebenta ng iligal na droga sa mga estudyante. Kailangan mabigyan ng sapat na impormasyon ang ating kapulisan para sila mahuli (so they would know the areas where crime is prevalent. They need to be well-informed about illegal drug peddlers who sell to students. Our police also need information for these peddlers to be arrested)," Azurin said.

He reminded students to take extra precautions, especially when approached by strangers.

"It’s part of the police awareness program – pag di mo kilala, i-assess mo 'yung ipapadala. Iwasan din po yung mga iinumin o kakainin na hindi nila kilala yung nagbibigay. Yung decision making po nila sa mga bagay na ito ay maging maingat sila dahil baka akala nila ay libre. Akala nila libre eh mapapasama sila (If you don't know the person, assess what is being given to you. Don't accept food or drinks from strangers. They should be careful because they might think the stuff is free but would actually put them in danger)," he added.

This came as the PNP noted that some students unwittingly become couriers of illegal drugs and other illicit substances.

Azurin also said they are tapping community leaders and school security guards to help ensure the safety of students and adherence to minimum health standards to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“As a matter of fact, yun ang isa sa inaasahan natin, yung mga security guard na naka-deploy sa schools. Dapat magkaroon sila ng maayos na ugnayan at partnership sa ating kapulisan at barangay tanod sa iba’t ibang lugar kung saan ay may mga sitwasyon na i-take advantage ng masasamang loob (As a matter of fact, that is what we are expecting – the security guards deployed to schools should coordinate and partner with the police and barangay tanod in different areas where the situation may be taken advantage of by lawless elements),” he added.

Meanwhile, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said about 23,000 police personnel would be deployed to school premises.

Kasama na rin po diyan yung mga pulis na ilalagay natin sa mga in-establish na mga police assistance desks para po yung ating mga estudyante, pati na rin yung mga magulang ay kung may mga security concern ay madali po silang makakahingi ng tulong sa ating mga pulis at dahil nandun po yung mga pulis malapit sa ating mga eskwelahan (The figure includes police personnel to be assigned to police assistance desks so students and parents who have security concerns could easily get help as the police are near schools),” Fajardo said during a Laging Handa briefing.

Aside from traffic management, the PNP will also deploy transport marshals to terminals and transport hubs, as well as Covid-19 patrollers, to make sure minimum public health protocols are observed. (PNA)